Discussion created on 09/12/2019

New development of feed blocks technology in the Sultanate of Oman

New development of feed blocks technology in the Sultanate of Oman Alaa D Salman, Khalfan M El Shargi, Rashid S Al-Habsi and Talal Al-Sadairi Directorate General of Agriculture and Livestock Research Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries PO Box 50 Seeb, Postal code 121,Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. alaasalman2006@yahoo.com Abstract This study was conducted to develop new methodology in feed blocks making from locally raw materials in Oman. Feed Blocks manufacturing equipment were manufactured locally at local artisan. This included pan mixer with capacity of 100 kg per batch and heavy duty Hydraulic press with four moulds. Different formulae of feed blocks were produced. These formulae were depending mainly on local dates palm trees byproducts (Inferior quality dates fruit, sun dried sardines fish, Dibis (Date syrup), ground date frond leaves and local wheat bran. Urea was used as source of nitrogen. The main binders used were bentonite clay, quick lime and Calcium sulfate (CaSO4). Whole barley grain was included (5 %) in these formulae to improve the palatability of feed blocks. The produced feed blocks were characterized with excellent compactness and medium to soft hardness. The excellent compactness of feed blocks was result of high pressure applied through heavy duty hydraulic press, whereas the soft hardness is result of low level inclusion of binders (gelling agents). This type of feed blocks can be considered as major breakthrough in feed blocks making in the region. The results of performance trial showed that the palatability of feed blocks by Omani goat is very high. The average daily intake was about 293g/d/ animal. Goats were easily turned on feed blocks due to the presence of whole barley grains and also due to sweet nice aroma of dibis and the whole dates fruit in the formula. Using feed blocks as supplementary feed resulted a highly significant (P0.05) due to limited number of replicates used in current study. The current results confirmed previous on-station and on-farm trials conducted in dry areas of Iraq (Salman 2000; Salman 2008a). The improvement of reproductive performance of supplemented group is reflection of significant improvement in goat weights gain due to feed blocks supplementation. It was found that the improvement of conception rates and lambing rates of ewes were closely related to improvement of ewes’ weight gain and body condition during mating period (Treacher 1997; Salman et al 2009). The improvement of conception rate and kidding rate for supplemented group might also due inclusion of sun dried sardines fish as source of undegradable protein (UDP) in feed blocks formula. It was found that when feed blocks enriched with cotton seed meal and brewer grains (source of UDP) resulted in considerable improvement in conception rate and lambing rate for Awassi ewe depend on whole barley grains and cereal crop residues as their basal diet (Al-Habobyet al 1999; Salman 2000; Salman et al 2005). Other studies showed that a small amount of protein that is directly available to the animal (i.e. undegradable protein) stimulates both productivity and efficiency of feed utilization (Preston and Leng 1987; Leng et al 1991). Previous experience indicated that for high production animals, blocks containing ‘rumen undegradable protein’ sources (“by-pass” protein sources), such as fishmeal, cottonseed meal, have been developed and used in India and Venezuela (Garg et al 2007; Herrera et al 2007. Conclusion It can be concluded that there is a great potential and good prospect in Oman for manufacturing and using feed blocks as alternative feed supplement for small ruminants. The feed blocks produced by this methodology are characterized by excellent compactness and medium to soft hardness. Inclusion of inferior whole dates fruits as energy source and sun dried sardines fish as source of bypass protein in blocks making will upgrade the nutritive value of feed blocks. This type of feed blocks can be used as replacement for costly imported concentrate feed. Adopting the new methodology in feed blocks manufacturing will stimulate the promotion of large production of feed blocks through small and medium scales agribusiness enterprise (SME) in feed industries in Oman. The implantation of this technology will have great economic and impact on the animals farming in Oman and other Arab peninsula countries due to availability of huge amount of whole dates not suitable for human consumption which is not utilized in animals feeding.

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Kurt A. Rosentrater
Kurt A. Rosentrater
Associate Professor
  Ames, Iowa, United States
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